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The Emerging Market of the Human Microbiome

The human microbiome is an area of life sciences that is gaining traction in the venture capital community. According to the Wall Street Journal, venture capital investment in microbiome companies rose 458.5 percent to 114.5 million U.S. dollars during the period from 2011 – 2015. By mid-September of 2016, venture capital companies invested 616.9 million U.S. dollars in microbiome companies, more money than during 2011 through 2015 combined [1].

The key factors contributing to the rise of microbiome companies include the falling cost of genomic sequencing, the global crisis of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and the vast upside opportunity to enter and dominate a new market sector in biopharma.

The first sequencing of the whole human genome cost 2.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2003 and by 2014 it cost fell to 1,000 U.S. dollars per Illumina [2]. The plummeting next-generation sequencing costs have lowered the cost barriers in clinical research and enabled a rise in human microbiome research.

Antibiotics contribute to antimicrobial resistance as bacteria evolves and develops drug resistance over time. AMR is a global problem, and currently there are fewer than 500 scientists focused on AMR globally [3]. The number of deaths due to antibiotic resistant infections is an estimated 700,000 per annum [4]. The number of deaths could increase to 10 million per year by 2050 [5]. Antibiotic resistance is a growing issue not only for human health, but also for animals. The industries that will be most impacted by antibiotic resistance are food, livestock, healthcare, and tourism [6]. AMR is a global existential threat to humanity.

One of the fastest growing companies to watch in the human microbiome market is Avadim Technologies Inc. (“Avadim”), a Bionome Therapies™ life sciences company. Avadim was listed as the 13th fastest growing company in the U.S. Health sector in 2017 by Inc. Magazine. Avadim ranked # 162 in 2017 and # 234 in 2016, on the Inc. 500 List, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies [7].

Avadim has patented platform technology that drives the development of topical, low pH, microbiome-compliant consumer health and patient care solutions. Avadim is best known for Theraworx® products based on patented formulations that are designed to optimise skin performance with non-toxic, microbiome-safe ingredients that do not harm the skin nor any other parts of the body.

On August 8, 2017, Avadim announced the launch of its consumer over-the-counter topical therapy, Theraworx® Relief, a pain relief solution for muscle cramps and spasms, nationwide in major U.S. pharmacies, including Rite Aid. Avadim’s patient care solution, Theraworx Protect, is positioned as a better way to fight hospital-acquired conditions versus antiseptic products that contain chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG). CHG can cause rare but serious allergic reactions according to the FDA [8]. Unlike CHG, Theraworx Protect does not create microbe resistance with sustained use nor cause anaphylaxis.

TMR estimates the worldwide human microbiome market to be 3.2 billion U.S. dollars by the end of 2024 with a CAGR of 9.80 percent between 2020 – 2024 [9]. The human microbiome is an emerging market opportunity with potential to disrupt biotech, pharmaceutical, food and consumer product industries in the future.



Cami Rosso is a contributing writer at Huffpost’s Thrive Global, where she covers science, innovation and leadership. Cami can be found on LinkedIn or Twitter.

If you found this interesting, you may also like “The Big List of Microbiome Companies and Investors”.

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